Baptism of Fire

Everyone who becomes saved through the Baptism of the Holy Spirit (Titus 3:5) will also be baptized by fire as Matthew 3:11 says.

"Fire" in the Bible is often used to refer to trouble or trials that a believer may experience.

1 Peter 1:7 That the trial of your faith, being much more precious than of gold that perisheth, though it be tried with fire, might be found unto praise and honour and glory at the appearing of Jesus Christ:

1 Peter 4:12 Beloved, think it not strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you, as though some strange thing happened unto you: 13 But rejoice, inasmuch as ye are partakers of Christ's sufferings; that, when his glory shall be revealed, ye may be glad also with exceeding joy.

In this life, those who become saved are called not only to believe, but also to suffer for Christ's sake. Philippians 1:29 For unto you it is given in the behalf of Christ, not only to believe on him, but also to suffer for his sake;

In Mark 10:38,39 Jesus refers to His crucifixion and calls it His "baptism" and says that the disciples will be baptized with the same "baptism".

Mark 10:38
But Jesus said unto them, Ye know not what ye ask: can ye drink of the cup that I drink of? and be baptized with the baptism that I am baptized with? 39 And they said unto him, We can. And Jesus said unto them, Ye shall indeed drink of the cup that I drink of; and with the baptism that I am baptized withal shall ye be baptized:

The "cup" that Jesus is referring to here is the same cup that He mentions in
Matthew 26:39 & 42 when referring to His suffering and death. In order for anyone to be saved, Jesus had to suffer and die. In John 12:24 Jesus says, "Verily, verily, I say unto you, Except a corn of wheat fall into the ground and die, it abideth alone: but if it die, it bringeth forth much fruit." (fruit = saved people)

25 He that loveth his life shall lose it; and he that hateth his life in this world shall keep it unto life eternal.

26 If any man serve me, let him follow me..."

Here Jesus is clearly speaking about His own death when talking about the "corn of wheat" dieing. But notice in verses 25 and 26 that He relates this death to us. This is because just as it was necessary for Jesus to die that others might be saved, even so we too must die in order that salvation be given to others. Jesus however died to sin once (Hebrews 10:12-14) but we die to sin daily as we partake of His death.

2 Corinthians 4:10 Always bearing about in the body the dying of the Lord Jesus, that the life also of Jesus might be made manifest in our body.

As "the life of Jesus is manifest (or made known) in our body" people are able to see it, and God uses this to bring them to salvation. This death that we bear in our body is explained in Romans 8:13 as it describes our need to "mortify the deeds of the body" through God's Spirit.

God has chosen to use us as His instruments in giving salvation to others. The Baptism that the Lord referred to in Mark 10:38,39 is His crucifixion, but it is also the process of purging and refining that the Lord works in us to make us vessels fit for His use. That is, to make us an effective witness in this world.

John 15:2 says, Every branch in me that beareth not fruit he taketh away: and every branch that beareth fruit, he purgeth it, that it may bring forth more fruit.

Unfortunately, because we are so stubborn and hardhearted in our sinful nature to abide in Christ (that we might bear fruit) the Father has to chastise us with troubles and trials so that we don't stray out of His will. See Hebrews 12:6. In Hebrews 12:11, it says that this chastening produces in us "...the peaceable fruit of righteousness". God saves us in this world for a reason and has a purpose for our lives; but because we are still sinners as long as we live in this fleshly body, we have to learn obedience to the Spirit and often it takes sufferings to cause us to learn.

Even Jesus, who did no sin, had to suffer because He was a man. Hebrews 5:8 Though he were a Son, yet learned he obedience by the things which he suffered;

See also:

Malachi 3:2 But who may abide the day of his coming? and who shall stand when he appeareth? for he is like a refiner's fire, and like fullers' soap: 3 And he shall sit as a refiner and purifier of silver: and he shall purify the sons of Levi, and purge them as gold and silver, that they may offer unto the LORD an offering in righteousness.

Now with this information, lets look at 1 Corinthians 15:29 and Romans 6:

Romans 6 is actually referring to both the Baptism of the Holy Spirit and the Baptism of Fire. Through the Baptism of the Holy Spirit we are united with Christ just as verse 3 says "Know ye not that so many of us as were baptized into Jesus Christ..." Then it goes on to say "...were baptized into His death" -- this is referring to the Baptism of Fire. It is true that we died to sin the moment we became saved and were united with Christ through God's Spirit (this is why after becoming saved, we love God and His ways, and really don't want to sin anymore). But our bodies are not yet redeemed -- in our body we still lust after sin, and so in order to be able to perform God's will, we must continue to die to sin. Just as the apostle Paul says, in 1Corinthians 15:31 "... I die daily." Here are some more verses where Paul is referring to sufferings and speaks of them in the terms of "dieing daily":

2Corinthians 4:11 For we which live are always delivered unto death for Jesus' sake, that the life also of Jesus might be made manifest in our mortal flesh.

2Corinthians 1:9 But we had the sentence of death in ourselves, that we should not trust in ourselves, but in God which raiseth the dead:

2Corinthians 4:12 So then death worketh in us, but life in you.

In this last verse, Paul says that as death is working in us, life is being produced in others. As we die to ourselves and live for God, our witness becomes effective and the result of this is that people become saved -- thus new "life" in Christ.

Notice back in Romans 6 that the context is in the "past tense" and the "present" tense.

Romans 6:3,4 Know ye not, that so many of us as were baptized into Jesus Christ were baptized into his death? Therefore we are buried with him by baptism into death: that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life.

It doesn't say we "were" buried with Him by baptism into says we "are" buried with Him. This is because we have died with Christ and we need to continue to die and partake of His death by crucifying the flesh. This is why verse 6 says, "our old man is crucified with Him". Notice again, it did not say our old man "was" crucified with Him. (Ephesians 4:20-24 also mentions our daily need to do away with our "old man" and to put on the "new man").

Remember now that God uses suffering to help us to die daily. He uses trials to refine us, and make us sensitive to His Spirit. And the ultimate goal of this is so that we might be an effective witness for Him and be fit for His use. This is why 1 Corinthians 15:29 mentioned being "baptized for the dead". We are baptized with fire (sufferings) in order to be a useful tool of the Lord, which He uses, to give salvation to those who are still spiritually dead.

In 1 Corinthians 15 Paul is addressing the fact that some were saying that the resurrection has already past, and he is explaining that if this were so, why then are we "baptized for the dead". In other words, "why are we in jeopardy (verse 30) and suffering so much in this life, if the spiritually dead people we are preaching to won't be raised again?"

I hope this explains the Baptism of Fire in a way that is easy to be understood. Ultimately it is God Himself who leads us into truth, so please take your time looking up the scripture references and in prayer seek the understanding from Him.

Proverbs 2:6 For the LORD giveth wisdom: out of his mouth (a reference to His Word) cometh knowledge and understanding.

It is my prayer that the Lord will bless you greatly as you look up all these verses and spend time in His Word.

more on suffering for a believer